Friday, February 20, 2009

My "economy" post or people suck

Something happened today with some of my former employees that makes me want to take back everything I said in my last post. Not really. That post is a theory and probably has as little application in the real world as the economic theories that led us to the mess we're in today.

Let me say this though...people really can suck sometimes. People can do things to make you travel to places you don't want to go. OK, longtime employees you made things complicated. You "thanked" me and "appreciated" me while doing me at the same time. Just screw me...don't patronize me. You insult my intelligence. I respect your right to do what you feel is right for you but I don't have to agree with you or deny that you cut me deeply. My former colleagues I am sorry and certain you made a mistake on many levels.

I'll get over it but it is no wonder families are splintered, religions blow each other up and there is so much other discord in this world. These folks were like family. Cancel Christmas.

Follow up ... Okay so maybe I was a little emotional when I wrote this. I don't apologize for letting my feelings out even if they are clouded by the heat of the moment. Suffice it to say that things were not as they seemed. Everything has calmed down and regular uninterrupted sleep has returned. I'm sorry for letting my emotions boil over but I thought that my blog was a great place to vent and work my way back to dealing with the problem that arose in a calm professional manner. I did get there. Christmas is back on.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Is there something wrong with the economy?

I have to get this off my brain.

There are a number of fundamental problems with large numbers of American businesses. These problems can only be fixed from the inside out. The government can prod businesses and regulate but it is really up to the business community to make their way out of a lot of the messes they have created.

Some are going to read this and call me a socialist or an idiot, or worse yet, an idealist; call me anything you want. For the record, the only one of those three I have not been is a socialist.

Most of the businesses in this country are run for the benefit of stockholders. I don't have a problem with that idea at all. In the simplest of examples, if the stockholders are risking their investment to start the business, they should reap an equitable reward for taking the risk. If that relationship doesn't exist, we will lose the risk takers. Not a good thing...

The problem comes in how many businesses prioritize the components essential to running a successful business. This is the way it has worked for us. This is the thing that makes me extremely proud of what we have done over the last 20+ years.

Priority 1 - Employees and their families
Priority 2 - Customers

Simple. You take care of your "families", they will "go to war" for the company. Again, simply put, if you make your employees feel the "love", your customers will also feel it. Treat them with respect, Happy customers equals happy owners (stockholders).

This is the ideology or framework, there are obviously a lot of details in constructing a useful business. If you use this ideology to create a business for which there is no market, you may be great to your employees but there are no customers...big problem. Recognizing the need for your product or service is an example of one of the important details.

If you are not being equitable to your employees, the lack of equitable treatment will extend to your customers and it follows that your stockholders are also at risk of being cheated. Is there any chance that a business run like this is good for the community? adds value to society? has a chance for long term success?

While I have used the word "simple" several times, I have not used the word easy. This is not easy. Competing is not easy but we are not afraid of competing. I just think that competition does not mean that you have to give up the qualities that make you a good citizen of this world and in fact, I don't think sustainable success is achievable without contributing to furthering the greater good on some level.